WordPress Plugins A to Z Podcast and Transcript for Episode #264
It’s Episode 264 and we’ve got plugins for Inline Quizzes, Page Builders, Setting Appointments, Renaming Users, Facebook Messenger Integration, and Image Hover Effects.. It’s all coming up on WordPress Plugins A-Z!
John: All right, this week here the first plugin I have was sent in by Andrew Dobson at – oh, it’s a tough name. I had it up earlier. Anyway, you have to check out his name. It’s sakyantchiangmai.com. It is a website that helps you get some really interesting tattoos over in Thailand. At any rate, he sent in this plugin but it’s not one of his; it’s one that he found and thought we would find useful.
It’s called Easy Appointments and it’s a plugin that is a great in. It was sent in – he discovered it and he thought he would share it with others. It’s an appointment plugin that allows you to set up for multiple locations, multiple services, multiple workers, multiple connections. It looks to be a pretty great plugin.
I gave it just the initial run-through to see how it worked and how it’s set up. It allows to you to customize to be personalized for your business by setting custom messages, adding additional custom fields to the forms, so when someone creates an appointment, you can collect all the information that you need for that type of an appointment. It also allows you to set redirects so you can redirect them to another page or another piece of information after they complete the appointment, so there’s lots of great uses.
The biggest drawback I found is that it only works on your website. It doesn’t connect with any other calendars out there, so you can’t integrate it into Google Calendar, nor is there a way to collect funds. Say you want somebody to book an appointment and prepay some money, it doesn’t have that. But according to the developer, those items are under development and they will come eventually. All in all, it looks to be a pretty decent plugin and checks out really nice. I rate it at 4 Dragons. Check it out: it’s Easy Appointments.
Marcus: Yeah, I actually checked that one out, too. That’s really nice actually for booking things and you can actually attach a price tag to it as well.
Marcus: The example that I saw on their website had a car detailing demo and not only did you get to pick the services that you want as far as your appointment, but you got to pick the detailer, the actual person. I could see this working very well for like a beauty salon or hairstyling studio or something like that.
John: Oh, yeah. Excellent for places like that.
Marcus: Yeah, yeah. Really good. All right, the first one I’ve got for your today is called Image Hover Effects Pack, and a couple of weeks back, I did an image hover plugin. But this one is way better. This one has over 150 animated hover effects that are totally CSS3-based. It actually is all CSS, unlike the other one. This allows you to add also animated captions and text on top of your images and has a ton of customization options as well. And the thing that I liked about this that the other plugin did not do, this one is 100% responsive and also has some pretty cool snap to grid options as well.
I would’ve given this one a perfect 5 out of 5, but there is also a pro version of this and you know my rule, John. I take one point off for that.
Marcus: So this one gets a 4 out of 5.
John: Very nice. It still sounds like a fairly useful plugin.
Marcus: It is.
John: Okay, the second one I’ve got in here for you today, it was another one sent in by one of our great listeners out there. It was sent in by Andrew Worsfold at gettailor.com and this is one of their plugins. It’s called Tailor Page Builder and this is a page builder plugin to allow you to customize any page. The claim is that it will work with any theme out there, so I thought I would put it to the test and use it with a theme that I have from CodeCanyon to have its own built-in page builder to see what kind of mess it would make.
And it turns out it conflicts very nicely in that way. It can’t be any theme, but any theme that doesn’t already have a page builder built into it, it worked well. I did give it a fair chance and loaded up with a couple of other themes and seeing how it works. It allows you to build your customized pages using an interface similar to the WordPress Customizer. Drag-and-drop your elements over and set them up.
The one thing I did find is only will customize pages; it won’t customize individual posts. So that was kind of a bit of a drawback for me, because there’s oftentimes where you’ll want to customize a post. One of the websites I use with a theme is sometimes the page builder allows me to customize posts along with pages. Other than that, the interface is pretty nice, clean, simple. It works very well; it’s a great plugin. Check it out. It’s called Tailor Page Builder and I gave it a 4-Dragon rating.
Marcus: Beautiful — nice. I’m always into page builders.
Marcus: I like Cornerstone; it’s the best one so far. But I’m going to check out Tailor as well.
John: That’s my major one because it comes with all the themes I’ve purchased from CodeCanyon.
Marcus: Right. Okay, so the next one I have on deck here is called User Rename by Azed, and that’s kind of a weird name. It should have just been User Rename. But this plugin lets you easily and completely rename a user account, and that’s the login, the nickname, and the display name. Lately, I’ve had many different instances where I’ve had to actually change a username and this one is going to be my go-to plugin for that.
Of the things that I’ve got to change, it’s a little unusual, but I’m going to bring it to light. With all the membership sites I run and, you know, the millions of members throughout all of them in terms of all the users, I’ve run into a couple of instances where I had to change an existing user’s name because they were transgender, right? They got a gender reassignment as it were and so now you have to change not only their profile picture, but also their name.
So this one worked for me on one particular instance that I had three people that I needed to change. One actually was just married and the other one had the other things that I was talking about, and this one worked very, very well, so I rated it a 4 out of 5.
John: Very nice. Yeah, I have another change username plugin that I’ve been using for a couple of years now. But any plugin that makes the job of username changing easy is one you want to keep in your portfolio of plugins, because you’re sooner or later going to have to change a username.
Marcus: Yeah, and it’s difficult to cancel an account and then have them sign up again, especially if they’re in a process that they’re already subscribed into —
Marcus: — when it can just be small, little change like this.
John: Small, little change instead of digging through the database. Pop this plugin in, quickly change it, and you’re done.
John: Okay, the final plugin I’ve got here today is another one sent in by our listeners. It was sent in by David Hehenberger at fatcatapps.com and it’s called Quiz Cat – WordPress Quiz Builder. Now everyone out there, if you have a Facebook account, you’ve seen those quizzes. Sooner or later, one pops up in your feed. Pretty much everyone has a Facebook account, so you know what those quizzes are, right Marcus?
Marcus: Yeah, like “What Frog Are You?”
John: Yeah, well that’s what this plugin does. It helps you build those quizzes in your WordPress website. It allows you to create the title, add images, create the answers, put images with every answer, go down and determine the total of correct answers and wrong answers, and then spit out a message with a great picture at the end saying, “Hey! Yeah, you know everything about frogs.”
So this is a great plugin. It works very well; it’s smooth. The one side-note I have to it is that this plugin collects your user information when you install it and activate it. You don’t have to opt into it. The opt-in says it won’t give all of the functionality; I don’t know. I didn’t test that. But if you do opt-in, it grants permissions for your profile, your site overview, URL, WordPress version, PHP info, plugin and themes you are currently using, it also gets the info when you activate, deactivate, and uninstall plugins.
So basically, they collect everything with your WordPress website and run it through a data collection service. There seems to be a data collection service for doing this on WordPress websites and it’s something all you developers might want to look into. It might be a great way to find out how your plugins are being used.
At any rate, great plugin. It worked very well; I set it up very fast, it was easy to create a quiz. You insert it on a page or a post via short codes and then with a little luck you create the right kind of quiz. Maybe it’ll go viral for you and you just get tons of traffic. Who knows? Anyway, check it out: Quiz Cat – WordPress Quiz Builder, and I rated it a 4-Dragon rating.
Marcus: Nice. I happened to look at this one myself and I thought it was really cool. I liked the fact that it’s not like your traditional quiz where you just go through all the answers and then it gives you a score at the beginning. This one actually, if you guessed the wrong answer, it would kind of flip over in a little card style and be either red or green —
Marcus: — in the instance you were either correct or incorrect with your answer, and I thought that was really neat.
John: Yeah, it’s more fun to know if you got it right or wrong in a quick instant.
Marcus: Right. Okay, the final plugin I’ve got today is called Cf7 Messenger, and of course, Cf7 stands for Contact Form 7. Now, I thought this one was really unique. I tried this out myself early this morning and it worked very, very well. What it allows you to do is integrate your Contact Form 7 with Facebook Messenger so that if someone leaves you a message within the Contact Form 7, it integrates with this plugin and sends you a direct message with Facebook Messenger. I thought that was pretty neat.
The problem for me is I had to install Facebook Messenger on my phone because I didn’t have it. It does work also on the PC version obviously if you’re logged into Facebook. But you’ve got to be careful with this one because it’s pretty wide open and you have to have some safeguards in place to prevent spambots like Captcha or something like that. Otherwise, your whole Facebook messenger is going to get blown up with spam.
John: That’s [inaudible – 20:02].
Marcus: Overall, great concept. I loved the way that it accepts real-time Facebook feedback in terms of that integration from your users. A really great plugin; I rated it a 5 out of 5.
John: Okay, yeah. It’s a great plugin. I like that idea. Yeah, I definitely want to have something to prevent spambots, because as soon as they discover something like that, they would just destroy you.
Marcus: Yeah, yeah. That’s it.
John: Okay, well that covers up this week. I covered up Easy Appointments, which I gave a 4 to; Tailor Page Builder, which I gave a 4 to, and Quiz Cat – WordPress Quiz Builder, which I gave a 4 to.
Marcus: And I talked about Image Hover Effects – gave that one a 4 out of 5; User Rename by Azed, 4 out of 5; and Cf7 Messenger, 5 out of 5.
John: Very nice.
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